All Eyes on Indonesia: Keeping Watch over West Papua during UNGA2018

September 22, 2018

As we head into the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly we are anticipating an increase in mass arrests and brutality by Indonesian security forces against the hundreds of thousands of West Papuans expected to participate in peaceful demonstrations.

Being inundated with daily news of killings, bombings, shootings, kidnappings and arbitrary arrests may cause some to become desensitized to the seriousness of what is happening in West Papua. It is understandable that some may feel overwhelmed at the magnitude of West Papua’s suffering. Our campaign’s mission is to alert the world to the truth of what is happening in West Papua, in the hope that information will catalyze the public to take action.  

As ugly as the truth is, we ask you to keep your eyes and revolutionary hearts open. West Papua’s problems are not too big to fix. Everyday work is being done, both publicly and privately, to keep marching West Papua through the gates of freedom. While the diplomatic and advocacy work carries forward we ask the public to do their part to ensure West Papua is never isolated again.

Because foreign journalists and human rights NGOs are banned from West Papua, public support remains crucial to ensure Papuans are not alone in their fight. International pressure and global awareness helps to keep the people of West Papua safer. Indonesian security forces can no longer outright massacre peaceful protesters under a shroud of secrecy. Let them know you are watching.

Take action:

Let the people of West Papua know you are with them and that the support for their cause is everywhere around the world

  • Upload a photo of you with the name of your country or city
  • Tag us @freewestpapua
  • Use the hashtags #UNGA2018 #UNGA4WP and #LetWestPapuaVote

Commit to helping us watch over the people of West Papua. When peaceful protesters are arrested be willing to:

  • Make calls. In our experience calling police stations helps get people released. When they know the world is watching detainees are less likely to be tortured or killed
  • Do not accept substandard leadership. Contact your pacific leaders. Reach out to them on social media to ask them to intervene and take a public stance on West Papuan issues. Politicians often fear retribution and will not act if they think it is unpopular. Let them know they work for you and represent your voice.   
  • Dispel rumors by sharing. The Indonesian government routinely tries to justify their aggression towards Papuans by framing them as terrorists. Help by sharing to show the world when these claims are false.

Narrow your focus. Instead of feeling overwhelmed figure out your unique qualities and lend your skill set to a West Papuan issue. It is like a wave in a stadium. You don’t have to be the whole wave. You don’t have to ride the wave further than where you are. All you have to do is stand up and raise your hands.

  • Decide on an area of service – Children’s health, women’s rights, environmental justice, sports, music, rock climbing, sewing, kayaking. We love it all.
  • Pick one simple task you can do on a regular basis. Calls, gathering resources, outreach. Whatever you already like to do, do it for West Papua
  • Reach out to us with your service ideas at We are here to help you help #FreeWestPapua